New Name, Enduring Mission

Jan 04, 2011

ASCO’s philanthropic arm is now the Conquer Cancer Foundation of the American Society of Clinical Oncology

January 2011 issue: Over its 11-year existence, The ASCO Cancer Foundation® has been vital to ASCO programs, providing support that would not be possible through member dues only—more than $10 million in 2009 alone. During that time, the Foundation has continued to grow, evolving from the charitable arm of its parent society, ASCO, to an increasingly high-profile philanthropic foundation. The Foundation has advanced ASCO’s mission by supporting educational programs in cancer care and prevention, disseminating information about cancer and cancer treatment to patients and their families, and supporting clinical research through its Grants Program. Beginning in 2011, the Foundation will be known by a new name that reflects that evolution: the Conquer Cancer Foundation of the American Society of Clinical Oncology. We wanted to share this exciting change with you, our members, first.

The name Conquer Cancer Foundation is striking, bold, and inspires confidence. Its mission is instantly comprehensible to the general public and donors. Along with the name change, the Foundation has updated its mission and vision statements: its mission, to conquer cancer worldwide by funding breakthrough research and sharing cutting-edge knowledge, and its vision, a world free from the fear of cancer.

“Conquer Cancer Foundation is more than a change of name. Indeed, it reinforces our individual and collective consecration to our mission. It also creates our invitation to all who will partner with us as we seek to fulfill our Foundation’s new name and our abiding mission . . .the mission to CONQUER cancer.”—Martin J. Murphy, Jr., PhD, DMedSc, Chair, Conquer Cancer Foundation

Although the name “ASCO” is well known among oncology professionals, the public at large is not necessarily familiar with the Society or with the meaning of “clinical oncology.” While ASCO continues to provide resources and support for its members, the Conquer Cancer Foundation reaches beyond the membership to individuals and organizations of all types for support. Changing the Foundation’s name distinguishes it as a separate organization and establishes a differentiated meaning for the Foundation that audiences will find relevant and compelling, while remaining in name and form closely tied to ASCO.

Critical support for a broad range of programs
“ASCO has the expertise and competency to deliver a tremendous array of programs to both our members and the public. What transforms these ideas into reality is financial support, and that must come from sources beyond ASCO membership dues.” —Allen S. Lichter, MD, ASCO CEO

The Foundation seeks support for programs including Annual Meeting educational tracks and enduring materials, thematic meetings (Breast, GI , and GU Cancers Symposia), Best of ASCO® meetings, disease-specific website portals, Virtual Meeting, and online abstracts. It helps support patient materials and ASCO’s award-winning patient education website, Cancer.Net, which provides timely, oncologist-approved information to help patients and families make informed health care decisions. Its reach extends from the grassroots level—through its support of the State Affiliate Program—to the international arena—through Advanced Cancer Courses and the Long-term International Fellowship program.

Much of the Foundation’s fundraising has focused on its Grants and Awards Program. Established by ASCO in 1983, the Grants Program awarded its first Young Investigator Award (YIA) in 1984 to Judith Kaur, MD. This highly successful program, funding young investigators during the transition from fellowship to faculty appointment, has now helped 630 physician-scientists launch their careers. In 1992, the program was expanded to include the Career Development Award, which helps early-career faculty members establish themselves as independent, self-directed researchers. Since its inception, the Grants program has grown to offer funding for every level of physician-scientist, both in the United States and around the world. To date, more than $66 million in research grants have been awarded to more than 800 investigators.

Along with research grants, the Foundation administers a robust Awards Program designed to recognize and promote the career development of high-quality clinicians and researchers. More than $1 million has been awarded to researchers through the International Development and Education Award (IDEA ), Clinical Trials Participation Award (CTPA), and Merit Awards. Established in 2009, the ASCO Diversity in Oncology Initiative, funded by Susan G. Komen for the Cure®, has provided support for three additional award programs: the Loan Repayment Program, Medical Student Rotation Program, and Resident Travel Award. In 2010, the Foundation also offered 120 Oncology Trainee Travel Awards to support the education and professional development of trainee oncologists by providing travel grants to attend the ASCO Annual Meeting.

“Instilling the importance of lifelong learning and attendance at conferences is an important aspect of our training. Without the support of The ASCO Cancer Foundation, I would not have been able to attend [the Annual Meeting] due to financial constraints.” —2010 Medical Student Rotation Awardee

Recognizing the need to both increase efforts and ensure its longevity, the Foundation in 2008 established its Mission Endowment. The Endowment represents an opportunity for corporations and individuals to invest in the Foundation’s critical mission areas: research, professional education, patient and family support, international outreach, and access to care. The Mission Endowment is an investment in the future of the practice of oncology, for the benefit of patients.

Collaborating for success


The 2011 Conquer Cancer Foundation Board of Directors
  • Martin J. Murphy, Jr., PhD, DMedSc, Chair
  • Allen S. Lichter, MD, Chief Executive Officer
  • Richard L. Schilsky, MD, Secretary
  • W. Charles Penley, MD, Treasurer
  • Nora A. Janjan, MD, MPSA, MBA, Member-At-Large
  • Lawrence H. Einhorn, MD
  • John H. Glick, MD
  • Gabriel N. Hortobagyi, MD, FACP
  • Thomas A. Marsland, MD
  • Robert J. Mayer, MD
  • Sandra M. Swain, MD
  • Nancy R. Daly, MS, MPH, Executive Director

As treating cancer requires a collaborative relationship among a multidisciplinary team of caregivers, the funding of cancer research and education programs also benefits from a collaborative approach. To this end, the Foundation has broken new ground in developing relationships with like-minded organizations. A first-of-its-kind collaboration with Susan G. Komen for the Cure® was formed in 2008, when the Foundation received $10 million from Komen for the Cure to develop programs focused on access to, quality of, and delivery of cancer care. Through this relationship, ASCO and the Foundation have created several important initiatives, among them the Diversity in Oncology Initiative, designed to facilitate the recruitment and retention of individuals from populations underrepresented in medicine to cancer careers, and the Improving Cancer Care Grant, the largestever grant offered by the Foundation at $1.35 million.

“The collaborative relationship with Komen was new territory for the Foundation. Now, more than two years later, both organizations are thrilled with how productive and fruitful it has been. Not only do we look forward to continuing our association with Komen, we look forward to building similar relationships with other organizations, all with the objective of benefitting people living with cancer.” —Nancy Daly, MS, MPH, Executive Director, Conquer Cancer Foundation

Building personal and public support
Equally important are the personal relationships the Foundation is building with its donors and with the general public. Through a connection made by Foundation and ASCO Board member Sandra M. Swain, MD, budding children’s author Jocelyne Smith has pledged to the Foundation a portion of the proceeds from her forthcoming book, What Happened When Mommy Got Cancer.

“Jocelyne felt that it was very important that her work go to a great cause, so I was excited to be able to introduce her to the Foundation.” —Sandra Swain, MD

The Foundation continues to seek innovative ways to spread its message and bring notice to the work it does. In 2010, the Foundation launched a new Annual Giving Campaign, Leadership to Legacy, which supports the Foundation’s Research Grants Program. This campaign is an opportunity for ASCO members and other oncology professionals to support the next generation of researchers. Leadership of ASCO and the Foundation, and ASCO members and nonmembers alike, have risen to this challenge, and thus far Leadership to Legacy has raised sufficient funds to support a Young Investigator Award.

The Conquer Cancer Foundation moves into its second decade with not just a new name, but a renewed sense of direction and purpose. Through comprehensive marketing and communications plans and its new consumer-friendly brand, the Foundation hopes to reach new audiences outside the traditional cancer community, acquiring new friends while renewing the support of existing donors. Through this outreach, the Foundation will be able to expand its portfolio of programs benefitting people living with cancer and the people who care for and about them.

Visit the Conquer Cancer Foundation’s new, easy-to-navigate website,, to learn more about programs it supports, apply for grants and awards, or learn how you can make a gift.


Support for Young Investigators

Young Investigator Awards are one-year, $50,000 grants given to early-career researchers in the final two years of their subspecialty training. Interested physician-scientists can visit the Cancer Professionals section on for eligibility requirements and additional grant information. The 2011 YIA s will be awarded at the ASCO Annual Meeting in June.

Beginning in 2011, the annual YIA sponsored by members of ASCO’s and the Conquer Cancer Foundation’s Boards of Directors will be named in honor of Jane C. Wright, MD. Dr. Wright is one of seven founding members of ASCO (the only woman among the founders) and the Society’s first Secretary/Treasurer, as well as a chemotherapy pioneer and renowned researcher. The Jane C. Wright Young Investigator Award Supported by ASCO and Conquer Cancer Foundation Boards of Directors will recognize Dr. Wright’s leadership at ASCO, her contributions to the field of oncology, and her dedication and passion for finding a cure for cancer.

The Conquer Cancer Foundation Grants Program supports research in all oncology subspecialties. In 2010, the Foundation received commitments from three nonprofit funders for the 2011 YIA program. Through support from the Cholangiocarcinoma Foundation and The Breast Cancer Relief Foundation, young physician-scientists will have an opportunity to engage in research in cholangiocarcinoma and breast cancer prevention or detection. Additionally, the Florida Society of Clinical Oncology is providing support to the YIA program to encourage and promote quality research in clinical oncology at institutions in Florida.
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